A year after the coronavirus upended our lives, it remains to be seen when our lives will return to normal – or, more precisely, what sort of “new normal” will emerge from the pandemic.
If a Request for Proposals published by the City of New York is any indication, however, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his associates at City Hall seem to feel that that one way or another remote learning will continue to play a role in whatever education norms emerge from the current crisis.
The RfP said the city is looking for “internet service providers, broadband infrastructure developers, contractors, manufacturers, and asset managers, and other internet connectivity companies and/or industrial developers… to develop and manage new fiber optic broadband on behalf of the City of New York and to enable new broadband internet service” in “target communities.”
According to Chalkbeat New York, an online magazine covering education in the city, about 100,00 children in New York live without internet access at home, and 40 percent of residents only have broadband at work or at home. The report said the city will invest $157 million to build broadband infrastructure for 30 low-income neighborhoods throughout the city.
The magazine added that the development program is unlikely to ensure broadband connections for all students by the 2021-22 school year, but quoted Alexis Wichowski, the city’s deputy chief technology officer for innovation about the city’s long-term view.
“The infrastructure projects are a significant undertaking and are meant to change the broadband landscape for the long-term,” Wichowski.